Revitalising local democracy

Local Manifesto 2017

Scottish Greens believe that local government can put power in your hands. Green councillors will listen to community concerns, then work hard to create solutions and make councils open and accountable.

Planning for a green future

Scottish Greens will strive for a planning system that listens to people. It should be transparent, accountable and give people power to shape their communities, resulting in development that is driven by public interest, not just economic growth.

Green Councillors will:

  • Invest in planning as a public service to empower local groups and individuals to engage, providing meeting spaces, information and dedicated staff.
  • Ensure transparency and accountability by pushing to make the voting record for all planning committee votes available promptly online and in offices.
  • Campaign with our MSPs to balance the rights of communities with those of developers by giving them an equal right of appeal over planning decisions. At present, only developers have the right to appeal.
  • Protect wildlife sites and local greenspaces from development and seek sustainable solutions to managing flooding and public land in ways that benefit people and nature.
  • Help local authorities deliver their Climate Change Act commitments by making carbon assessments a requirement of development proposals and transitioning Scotland away from fossil fuel extraction and consumption
  • Support the development of local energy companies

Fair funding for public services

Scottish Greens believe in progressive taxation and investment in public services. The involvement of the community in financial decision-making is a cornerstone for revitalising our local democracy.

Green Councillors will:

  • Fight to scrap the regressive Council Tax and replace it with a fairer system of property taxation. Under the present system, we believe rates should be set by individual councils to suit local circumstances.
  • Establish significantly more participatory budgeting, where communities are actively involved in deciding on local budget priorities.
  • Campaign to give council employees a say on how their pensions should be invested – including options to divest from fossil fuels, tobacco and weapons and invest in local housing and renewable energy.
  • Push Councils to publish annual budget proposals early so that they can be scrutinised by everyone, ensure that budgets are analysed for their impact on groups protected by equality law, and support local authority-wide carbon budgeting to meet climate targets in the most cost-effective way.
  • Support the return of the power to set the rate for 50% of the assessed value of non-domestic property. This would devolve more fiscal power to local governments and help make local decisions on rates to fit local circumstances.
  • Support a fiscal framework with the Scottish Government that promotes local democracy, devolved decision-making and stability for public services.

Protecting local democracy

Scotland needs a revitalised local democracy where citizens are engaged and active in the important matters affecting their communities, where voters can make real choices about the services they want and how to pay for them.

Green Councillors will:

  • Fight to keep power and important decisions locally accountable. We will oppose a top-down and forced centralisation of education and other functions, but are open to a bottom-up collaboration between local authorities where this would benefit services mutually.
  • Support more powers for community councils, citizenʼs assemblies, street committees and other community bodies to make decisions about public spending. 
  • Make it easier to find out and understand what is happening in your council, standardise live webcasting of council meetings and make all committee votes available for public scrutiny
  • Support community-led projects, development plans and buy-outs, financially and by sharing experience.
  • Work to provide non-intimidating community discussion spaces that support a diverse array of voices and use emerging technologies to pilot new methods for citizen participation in making council policies, for example using citizen assemblies or citizen juries for decisions on planning or local service provision.

Keep up to date with our campaign

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